Miami Marlins Season review: Marcell Ozuna’s Up-and-Down 2015 Season


Welcome back to our season ending trip around the diamond. Today we’ll be discussing the 8 spot, one of the most controversial position groups on this year’s Miami Marlins.

If you make the qualifications for the center field designation those players who have appeared there for more than 150.00 innings, you see that there are three names still on the list, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, and Cole Gillespie. We’ll talk a little about each but for the most part it was Ozuna who held the starting role so most of the focus will be on him.

Coming into 2015 Marcell Ozuna appeared to be one of the best young center fielders in the league. He had produced nearly 4.0 WAR in 2014, spurred by excellent defense and impressive power at the plate, a combination rarely seen. Ozuna was so confident that he even turned down an off season contract extension, something many Scott Boras clients do.

But then 2015 started and it appeared Ozzie forgot everything he knew about playing baseball. His defense was bad, his ability to make contact went from bad to terrible, and most alarmingly his power disappeared right into the abyss. All of these struggles combined to a 0.2 WAR and 75 wRC+ over the first half, and earned him a demotion to Triple A New Orléans.

Once in New Orléans Ozuna rediscovered his stroke and began to hit the way we know he can posting a 147 wRC+ and play acceptable if not great defense in center. It was curious then that he was not called back up to the majors, and quickly became evident that there was some salary shenanigans going on.

At the start of the season it seemed almost certain that Ozzie would qualify for super two status at the end of the year, his sojourn in New Orleans put an end to that and he’ll have to wait till next season to reach arbitration. It’s certainly within Loria’s rights to do things like this, he’s a business man after all, but you can see what knowing his boss was deliberately negating his earning potential could do to Ozzie’s mind state. When he was finally recalled to Miami he compared New Orléans to a prison.

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Once back up in the Majors Ozuna retained his recaptured form slashing a .278/.320/.469, good for a 115 wRC+. It’s unclear which Ozuna we will see in the future, but it’s probably somewhere in the middle, not great but also not abysmal.

Christian Yelich also manned the position for 282.2 innings in 2015. He mainly played in keft field, and the review for that position is the more proper place to talk about his season. I will say here however that Yelich appears to be a below average defensive center fielder. It’s a small sample size but he’s posted a -4.3 UZR, it could be because of unfamiliarity with the position, it could be a weak throwing arm, it could even be nothing more than statistical variance. Who knows? We’ve got to see more.

The third and last man to play CF for the Fish in 2015 is the hardly worth talking about Cole Gillespie. Gillespie is a fourth outfielder, and a bad one, he produced a negative WAR and 90 wRC+, and that’s all I have to say about that.

So there it is, the CF spot as it broke down in 2015, with any luck we’ll get to see Ozuna out there again next year, unfortunately his name has been mentioned in trade chatter linked to Aroldis Chapman among other names.

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Next: Season Review: Right Field

Next: Season Review: Third Base

Next: Season Review: Short Stop

Next: Season Review: Second Base

Next: Season Review: First Base

Next: Season Review: Catcher

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